Hilliard City Schools could return to all in-person learning March 15

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
The Hilliard City Schools Central Office is at 2140 Atlas St. in Columbus.

Hilliard City Schools could return students to classrooms full-time by the middle of March.

Superintendent John Marschhausen on Feb. 8 proposed to the school board that the district transition to an “all-in” in-person mode of education March 15.

The district has been in a hybrid, part-time in-person learning mode since December.

The move is based on four pillars: the successful vaccination of teachers and staff, a continued decline in reported COVID-19 coronavirus cases in the district, a continued decline in COVID-19 positivity rate and internal school-district data remaining proportional to community data.

The March 15 return date is subject to change and the district must “retain the ability to pivot” and change based on any change in data, Marschhausen said.

Marschhausen presented the plan to the community during a virtual Zoom session Feb. 11.

As many as 450 people were viewing at one time or another, and Marschhausen responded for about 30 minutes to questions, said Stacie Raterman, director of communications for Hilliard City Schools.

Marschhausen said he also planned to meet with faculty and members of the OAPSE and Hilliard Education Association unions before submitting the restart plan to Franklin County Public Health officials.

Marschhausen said he plans to submit the restart plan Feb. 22 to the school board for formal action.

Even if students return to buildings, other school events remain “off” and the district will maintain a no-visitor policy, he said.

“I think this is the best we can do with the information we have. I’m excited to get our kids back (to school),” board member Brian Perry said.

The move to an all-in mode of education does not apply to students whose families opted into the district's Hilliard Online Academy, said Stacie Raterman, director of communications for the district.

When students returned at the start of the school year, the district provided the option for students to enroll in an online academy, separate from eLearning 2.0, the remote-learning mode for students who attended in-person classes in the hybrid mode.

The students in the Hilliard Online Academy committed to enrollment for the remainder of the semester and will continue until the end of the academic year, Raterman said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo